Privatize!

If he were still the Freundel Stuart-led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government’s chief economic advisor, former Chairman of Government’s Council of Economic Advisors Sir Frank Alleyne would tell the administration it must privatize some state entities.

Addressing Friday’s DLP lunchtime lecture on Fiscal Consolidation in Small Developing Economies at the party’s George Street, Belleville, St Michael headquarters, Sir Frank said privatization should not be brushed aside as Government seeks to cut expenditure and reduce its deficit.

“Privatization should never be put aside. This economy we are in is a mixed economy. Therefore, my view is that productive investments should be left to the private sector. They are best able to do that,” Sir Frank said.

Over the past five years Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has been advised by all manner of accountants and economists of the need to look seriously at selling off a number of loss-making state entities, including the country’s lone television broadcaster, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, and its primary garbage collector, the Sanitation Service Authority.

While Sir Frank did not go into detail as to which entity should be placed in the hands of the private sector or how soon, he made it clear Government should divest some entities while holding on to the role of regulator.

“Government’s strength is in regulation. Sometimes Government will have to play the leading role in getting something [developed], but as soon as you get that idea firmly planted and developed it becomes what you call a demonstration. This is what is possible. Once you have done that you should get rid of it. Don’t hold that investment which should probably be in the private sector because what you are doing is using the private sector people’s money, my money and your money to compete against us,” the respected economist explained.

Frankly speaking: Economist Sir Frank Alleyne (right) delivering today’s DLP lunchtime lecture. Seated next to him is the party’s General Secretary George Pilgrim.

Just last November Sinckler said Government had not shut the door on privatization, though making it clear that some services would remain under the control of the state no matter what.

Sinckler maintained that the idea of placing some state entities in the hands of the private sector would only be considered in areas where it was viable to do so.

“The Democratic Labour Party Government has never accepted privatization in its entirety. In instances where privatization could work and be viable, we have done so,” Sinckler said, while pointing to the Arawak Cement plant, the former Heywoods [now Almond Beach) hotel as well as the Barbados National Bank as examples of entities that Government had divested.

Sir Frank’s advice was also very much in sync with that of the man who at one time was tipped to replace him as chairman of the economic advisory group.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has become more vocal and adamant that there is no way out of the choking fiscal situation other than to sell off some state assets.

In one of the several occasions that he has raised the issue in recent times, Arthur last April reacted to a Moody’s downgrade of Barbados’ issuer and bond ratings to Caa1, by pointing out that after “C” comes “D”, therefore the island was one notch above debt default, which would only mean further downgrade.

He suggested at the time that privatization of some state assets was the way to go, arguing, “if you are cash strapped but asset rich, you have to sell assets”.

marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

17 Responses to Privatize!

  1. Ronnie Warren
    Ronnie Warren January 21, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Yes but to who.

    Reply
  2. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn January 21, 2017 at 2:08 am

    I will not listen to non of you corrupt people.Why when Mr Owen Arthur said so in 2013 you all criticize him.

    Reply
  3. Harry January 21, 2017 at 4:54 am

    This Govt won the last election – with the assistance of the money man in the North – on the promise of no privatization among other things.

    Reply
  4. Harry Turnover January 21, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Peter…..look your boy in the background….the stay tuned man. George Pil GRIM…wha happen to ya ? ya look very GRIM.
    I still TUNED in ..ya en got na more news fa ma bout the 3 people who want to lead the BLP ?
    ….and wha happen that ya got on a black shirt ?, somebody dead ? or ya mourning in advance of what is going to happen next year ?
    ….and since you are an ” expert ” on who wants to lead ,how come ya din say that Sinckler,Inniss and Sealy…3 people that want to take the reins from Stuart and that Kellie fuming mad that nabody en got he up there to lead too ?

    Reply
  5. Peter January 21, 2017 at 8:35 am

    harry turnover. You are so right oh mmm. I mean correct. BIM Bold, Ignorant Mad. That’s hoe I see BIM full of wash up driftwood rejected failures who cannot take NO for an answer. They are the power hungry ones. Wasn’t Neil Holder a former police OFFICER? come Insurance salesman Oh Mmm – executive? What’s his claim to fame ? in politics? He will be used to “open” the front door then told to “step out of the way.”

    Reply
  6. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar January 21, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Privatization is not the answer, but deleting the political interference, get rid of the political yard fowls and run the entities as a business. If the government can’t manage these entities, what give you the belief that private individuals who always complaining can? Al this would do is put people out of work. The easy way out is not always the best way.

    Reply
  7. Rev. Winston Jones January 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

    “Privatization should never be put aside. This economy we are in is a mixed economy. Therefore, my view is that productive investments should be left to the private sector. They are best able to do that,” Sir Frank said. WHY? What is essentially different about persons in the private sector that they can manage productive ventures yet those in the public sector find themselves totally inept at doing it? Put persons in place who can manage these ventures and measures in place to ensure their productivity. Government entities are treated as vote manufacturing machines for our politicians who over fill them with incompetent persons to ensure re-election at the next polls. As a result, the entire country gets taxed to the hilt to fund the social services which government must provide. Will the government divest it self of non-profit making entities such as schools, hospitals and clinics in order to redress the cost challenges it is facing or will the populace be taxed again with fees to access these services? Put people in place who can do the job instead of incompetent party stooges!

    Reply
  8. Peter January 21, 2017 at 9:39 am

    It was Nationalization and NOT privatization that caused Guyana and Jamaica to undergo a series of devaluations. They nationalized their Bauxite industry, In the case of Guyana, their sugar, rice, gold exchange and a whole lot more. They sent back all the skilled non nationals to their respective homelands. they had no experts on hand, lost their export markets and their foreign exchange capability, was forced to import everything except local foods, Had to go to the IMF and were forced to devalue. We do have Oil discovered only. but with the advent of green energy and the cost of extracting it exceeding our selling price, I don’t think we stand much of a choice.

    Reply
  9. Greengiant January 21, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Any of you really think that after two terms in office these people who can now return to their law practice care about privatization or any painful decisions that have to be made?

    The buzz word for them is stabilization of the economy, and depth management. They’ll make sure there’s no devaluation, leave office with adequate foreign reserves and the island with building projects already in motion. The message to the new government will be, ” manage the country through the depth crisis without devaluation, or the IMF.

    Reality is the opposition party has never had to manage any serious depth in this country. So only time will tell whether they can. Funny thing about being on the outside is you can see all the issues, and have all the solutions, until the responsibility is yours. In my humble opinion, the 2018 general election is a good one to lose. I wouldn’t want the challenge of having to repair the damage, and remember the words of the opposition to the government, ” don’t tell the people about who’s fault it is, do something about it. Get on with governing the people’s affairs “. Whoever wins will have to play by those rules but can these lawyers do the job? I doubt it very much as history has proved they can’t.

    Reply
  10. Hal Austin January 21, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Sir Frank is out of touch with modern economic reality. Privatise what and what model of privatisation would he prefer? Selling every publicly owned body to the Williams brothers or Simpson? Or to the Trinidadians and Canadians?
    He cannot now blame Sinckler and Stuart. He was at the centre of power and influence for most of the government.
    His real problem is that Barbados is a deferential society and people have been bowing, not to his knowledge, but his assumed knowledge, which is out of date..

    Reply
  11. Greengiant January 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

    While I do agree that with development comes need for economic change. An example, why are we still spending 6,900.00 to produce a ton of sugar to sell it for 1,100.00 ? Why are our tax payers saddling that deficit continuously, and for how long has this been happening?

    Both parties have been at the sugar negotiating table, getting stuck with quotas that only benefit the European Union. What’s in this for us as a nation? So economicically both parties are failures, as there must be more deals made to our detriment. I wonder what percentage of our depth is directly related to these kindergarten type negotiating skills.

    Reply
  12. Jennifer January 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    @Hal Austin – Exactly. I knew someone would see it.
    This situation is yet again multifaceted.
    These people in parliament can see a lot of what we the public is not willing to see, and they CANNOT talk frank. This PRIVATIZATION will result in that yoke of iron which is still on this people becoming more tight. This is where blacks with money should come in, but due to the servant mentality of wanting to be followers rather than masters as they were taught, they will not stand the test. Blame the education system.
    Or maybe they are already priced out too.
    Notice how blacks will coon and work diligently for white investor companies while the white managers sit in the shade and run things. While working in government they will play the a**, just like the politicians are doing. Servant not master. Maybe privatization will awake this people from their COMATOSE state.
    Its like this other predator monsantos foods who are creating patents for his gmo foods and slowly removing natural seed chain foods yet again causing ill health.
    We are in for one ride i tell ya.

    Reply
  13. Facts not Beliefs January 21, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    In 2003 after the acquisitionon of the BNB by the Republic Bank Group after years of negative income., Barbados government enjoyed 35.% of the profit from year 2. Owen Arthur declard that the government made enough profit in one year as a shareholder than it did as the owner for 10 years.

    Reply
  14. jus me January 22, 2017 at 1:36 am

    @ Jennifer
    So as I read your summary, we will do as we like ,with other blacks ,cos we sure we can ,cos dem do.

    Under whites we shape up or ship out.
    No two ways.

    yuh ent wrong.

    Where yuh is wrong is, thinking, as you infer its WRONG , to be white and sit in the shade and run things.
    Seems extremely intelligent to me.
    I mean isn’t running things the whole idea of it??

    Rather than servant and master its more like BY EXAMPLE.

    Reply
  15. F.A.Rudder January 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Mr Austin you seem to have a fantastic know how ! I am genuinely asking that you put you expertise and good measures to the Admin for the good of the land as it seems that your logic should be highly productive. We wish you well!

    Reply

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